Minions, you have been so infinitely patient. You’ve waited through a title change (BLOODBOUND to SOULBOUND), and have waited sooooo long for Auntie Heather to finish this book, this epic fantasy that’s so different than my Vlad Tod or Slayer stuff. You’ve begged, pleaded for a taste. Just a taste! And today, I can give you just that. I’m going to give you two pressies. And when I’m done, I want to know what you think. I’m thrilled, ecstatic, so, so happy to give you both the cover of SOULBOUND, and the first five paragraphs! Are you ready? Because here…we…GO!!!
The sharp edge of the paper sliced into my thumb and I sat up with a jerk. “Fak!”
Blood blossomed from the cut and I tossed my book to the ground, shoving my thumb in my mouth and sucking on it to make the bleeding stop. I should have known that I’d give myself a paper cut. I’d just picked up the book from the book binder this morning, so its pages were still crisp, not well worn like those in the books that lined the shelves of my bedroom.
“What would your mother say if she heard you cursing like that, Kaya?” As he ducked under the moss that was draping from the tree branches above and made his way along the water’s edge, my father smiled at me. In his left hand was a net full of freshly caught fish. He held it up proudly. “Dinner. I hope I didn’t scare you.”
Shaking my head at his subtle attempt at humor—he’d always been able to sneak up on me without much effort, ever since I could remember—I brushed the grass from my leggings and stood, clutching the book in my hand. “Scare me? I actually heard you coming. First time for everything, I suppose.”
“I made certain you did. Walk back with me? I want to talk with you about tonight.” He didn’t wait for an answer. I knew he wouldn’t. My father was a take-charge kind of person. Not cruel or demanding, but a natural leader. When he said something, people were meant to listen, and they did, for the most part. Maybe it was because he was a Barron, and people—even the Unskilled people of Kessler who had no idea what Barrons even were—just sensed that they were supposed to follow his lead. My mother was a Barron as well. Sometimes I wished that I was like them, but then I’d push that wish away. After all, there was no sense in wishing for what one could never possibly have. My parents had been born Barrons, and I . . . well . . . I had not.